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13 Sep

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New Zealand Politician Calls For Disinfectant Mat Use At Borders

September 13, 2017 | By |

With the tree fungus Rapid Ohia Death looming at New Zealand’s door, is it time for New Zealand’s government to up its game and take action before it is too late?

Richard Prosser, MP and Spokesperson for Biosecurity for the New Zealand First Party, has spoken out in a recent press release about the spread of Rapid Ohia Death (ROD), a tree fungus he reports has devastated forests in Hawaii. He states that ROD has now been detected in Tahiti and suggests that it could reach New Zealand shortly.

“New Zealand needs to be front-footing this very real threat” – Richard Prosser MP

Rata Tree

Rata Tree

Pohutukawa Tree (New Zealand Christmas Tree)

Pohutukawa Tree (New Zealand Christmas Tree)

Kiwifruit

Kiwifruit

  • ROD affects trees in the Metrosideros genus. New Zealand’s precious Rata and Pohutakawa trees are from this genus.
  • Kiwifruit, one of New Zealand’s most popular export fruit, is also potentially at risk with ROD reportedly having killed up to 50% of kiwifruit in some orchards in Brazil.
Rapid Ohia Death Fungus Tree
ROD Fungus Effect

ROD, like many other fungi, is easily spread on clothing and footwear. What could the government of New Zealand be doing to pro-actively help keep ROD from its native trees and kiwifruit? Shoof believes it has the answer to help prevent its spread.

Shoof’s Disinfection Mats are ‘squelch mats’ used to treat bacteria and fungi found on footwear. The Disinfection Mats are made to measure and designed to be placed on areas such as air bridges and cruise ship gang ways, locations of importance called for by Mr Prosser. Once in place, the Disinfection Mats are soaked through with relevant disinfectant solution and people walk across them, their shoes ‘washed’ by the disinfection solution absorbed into the mats.

Air Bridge

Gangway

The Disinfection Mats have already proved to help reduce the spread of bacteria and fungus in New Zealand bush and on New Zealand farms. Placed at the entrance to New Zealand bush walks, trampers wash their boots as they walk into the bush by walking over the mats. This means the occurrences of bacteria being walked through the bush is significantly reduced if not eliminated. Disinfection Mats are used to great effect on New Zealand farms, helping reduce disease in animals due to the spread of bacteria. The Disinfection Mats are also used by Animal Quarantine Service (AQS) of Japan in areas to safeguard against animal infectious diseases at their borders. They were also used at the Rio Olympic games to prevent the spread of hoof diseases amongst equestrian horses.

sweetmat
Disinfection Mat Biosecurity Sweetmat 6

Prevention still remains the best form of defence against the outbreaks of fungus and bacteria, and time and time again Shoof’s Disinfection Mats are proving to be one of the first steps in protecting borders.